Setting The Pace
Jaguar’s unrelenting progress continues apace with the company – in Indian hands since Spring 2008 – posting record UK sales in 2015.
And its pace quickened literally as the stunning new Jaguar F-Pace sports utility took March’s Geneva Motor Show by storm.
Motoring writer Stephen Rome examines the newcomer that’s entering a very talented marketplace with very high hopes. The heat is definitely on for its rivals … and will it be cool for cats?
Think ‘sports utility vehicle’ and a number of names come to mind. They’re mostly European and all premium brands – and now Jaguar’s finally made its bold move into Europe’s most lucrative market place, entering the SUV fray with its own ‘take’ on the sports utility.
Designed from the ground up as a Jaguar, it’s definitely not a badge engineered Range Rover or Discovery Sport with that famous Jaguar badge plonked unceremoniously on its nose…
The launch of Jaguar’s first SUV will see the company hoping to claw its way into a very profitable niche which until now has been dominated by models from Audi, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Lexus and latterly Porsche. It knows the stakes are high but is still determined to show its rivals a clean pair of wheels with its newcomer boasting impeccable and unmistakeable British styling heritage allied to the sporting intent that’s made cars like the XF and new XE so successful.
Jaguar’s come a long way since Ford took the reins fifteen years or so ago. Many would say it lost its direction with both the S type and X type not really making the impact its American owners hoped for; news that Tata had bought the company was greeted cautiously in March 2008 but eight years on and it’s proved a masterstroke; the Indian giant has had the resources and foresight to back Jaguar to the hilt.
So, what of the new F-Pace?
Well, first things first – and best news of all for Jaguar fans – it looks like a Jaguar. The 106 page glossy brochure is forthright in its introduction to the range which, it says, ‘takes the pure Jaguar DNA of legendary performance, handling and luxury adding space and practicality’.
And while it’ll come as a real shock to those traditional Jaguar customers who had palpitations at the thought of a baby Jag (the X type) – never mind cars with a diesel engine under the bonnet – this is a real Jaguar, and shows just how the company’s been reinvigorated and revitalised with ‘daring’ back in that aforementioned DNA.
Designer Ian Callum’s penned a car with traits from the F Type sports car, agile looks are mated with a choice of powerful petrol and diesel engines along with a typically ‘Jaguar-esque’ cabin complete with sports command driving position and design motifs all shouting ‘class’, ‘cool’ and ‘cultured’.
With its aluminium bodywork and range of state of the art power plants, the F-Pace is roomier, more economical, better equipped and better value than many rivals. And factor in the dizzying amount of optional extras and array of accessories (the F-Pace can be personalised to the n’th degree for the most fastidious customer) and it looks like another winner from Coventry.
For those with deep pockets there is one obvious choice. The exclusive £65,275 F-Pace ‘first edition’ which with its unique specification is available in just one colour – Caesium Blue – is the purest evocation of the C-X17 concept vehicle which inspired the F-Pace and includes many unique features in its one off specification and will be limited to some 300 launch models.